Campbell Soup surpasses expected quarterly results

Campbell Soup Co.’s soup revenue cooled in the fourth-quarter, but stronger sales of Goldfish crackers, Milano Melts cookies and other items helped the food maker deliver adjusted results that beat Wall Street expectations.

The company, based in Camden, N.J., reported Friday that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit slipped 12 percent, weighed down by restructuring charges. But the food maker’s adjusted results beat expectations, and its full-year guidance is expected to meet or beat analysts’ estimates.

Campbell earned $100 million, or 31 cents per share, for the period that ended July 31. That compared with net income of $113 million, or 33 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding the special charges, Campbell earned 43 cents per share. Revenue rose 6 percent to $1.61 billion, helped by higher prices and growth in its international and baking and snacking segments. 

Amazon CEO reports loss of spacecraft during test

An unmanned spacecraft bankrolled by Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos failed during a recent test flight.

In a brief online post Friday, Bezos said “we lost the vehicle” at 45,000 feet.

Bezos founded Blue Origin to develop a vertical takeoff and landing rocket ship that would fly passengers to suborbital space. It recently won money from NASA to compete to go into orbit as a space taxi now that the space shuttle fleet is retired.

The mishap occurred during a test flight last week from Blue Origin’s West Texas spaceport. The ultra-secretive company notified the Federal Aviation Administration about the launch and only acknowledged the accident publicly on Friday.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the failure, said the test was not part of the development agreement with NASA. 

Greek bailout program hits new roadblocks

International negotiators unexpectedly halted talks meant to release the next round of emergency loans to Greece as the country’s increasingly complex bailout program threatened to founder on several fronts.

Greece’s recession is deepening, and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Friday at a news conference in Athens that it may last through next year — despite forecasts from the International Monetary Fund and others that growth would resume. As a result, the country may miss the targets for lowering government deficits included in a joint IMF and European Union bailout.

While Venizelos, according to wire service reports, said the emerging budget gap could be met without more spending cuts or tax increases, IMF and European officials broke off the talks while Greek officials work on their budget for next year. 

GM hires former leader on products to advise execs

General Motors Co. has hired the ultimate car guy out of retirement to advise its senior leadership.

Bob Lutz, 79, a former GM vice chairman for product development, left the company last year, but never really ended his 47-year career in the auto business. Lutz had been informally advising GM on its new products for the past 16 months from his home near Ann Arbor, Mich.

The move by GM CEO Dan Akerson should help the company because its top-selling new products were conceived and designed under Lutz’s leadership. The Chevrolet Cruze compact and the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox midsize crossover SUVs, all designed under Lutz, have led GM’s recovery from its 2009 bankruptcy.

He also championed the Chevrolet Volt, an electric car that has a small gas generator to power it when the batteries are depleted.

GM turned a $5.4 billion profit during the first half of the year.

— From news service reports